The largest ecological heater of Brazil, using the sun, was installed in the city of Palmas, in the Brazilian southern state of Paraná. A total 3,300 packages were used in the assembly, being 1,800 PET bottles and 1,500 long-life milk packages. The packages used in the assembly represented the reuse of approximately 100 kilograms (220 lbs) of plastic.
The project was coordinated by the Secretariat of Environment and Water Resources, and the system used was created by José Alcino Alano. The heater is helping reduce expenses with the supply of electric energy to heat around 8,000 liters of water consumed daily in the barracks of the 15th Brazilian Army Combat Engineering Company, where there are 50 soldiers.
The secretary of Environment of state, Rasca Rodrigues, pointed out the benefits of this alternative heating system. "It is energy that does not affect the environment, it is clean. It avoids the accumulation in garbage dumps of residues that may be reused or recycled, helping extend their lives. And, still, those using the system economize money, as their use reduces the electricity bill by 35%."
José Alcino Alano explained that he has been receiving support from the Environmental Secretariat's Programa Desperdício Zero (Zero Waste Program) since 2004, promoting his work, which is registered as a free project. "It is free as it may be reproduced for no commercial finalities, only to improve the environment and the quality of life of those who need it," he explained.
Paraná already has around 6,000 of these solar heaters, but, according to the coordinator of the Zero Waste Program, Laerty Dudas, these figures may be much greater, as workshops are organized in which many multipliers are trained. "The project develops alone." The heaters are being used to heat water for the washing of milk containers, and also for bathing animals.
According to Alano, to build a solar heater with a capacity to heat water for bathing four people, 240 PET bottles are used, together with 200 long-life packages, as well as PVC pipes and fittings.
These figures cause secretary Rasca Rodrigues to believe that in the 6,000 systems that are already in use, the discarding of at least 1.2 million PET bottles and almost 1.5 million long-life packages was avoided.
Figures provided by the Solid Residue Secretariat show that of every 100 PET bottles traded in Paraná, just 15 are recycled. In the case of the consumption of long life packages, approximately 400 million units are traded per year, of which 240 million are discarded, causing a strong environmental impact.